World War 2 American Slang: A Collection

World War II created a brotherhood, and a language all its own. Men from a wide variety of backgrounds were thrown together in close-knit, often boring, frequently dangerous situations, and slang that came from those experiences tied them together and cemented their brotherhood.

WW2 slang helped create an “us” vs. “them” mentality, where them is not only the enemy, but the “Brass” and folks back home who can’t fully understand the world of the fighting man.


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There are currently 11 names in this directory beginning with the letter F.
Fair Dinkum
An Aussie term meaning (generally) a fair deal
Fat Cat
1) A person in, or associated with the military living in safe and sometimes luxurious conditions. (A term often applied to personnel assigned to posts in Australia, including Red Cross personnel.) 2) An aircraft assigned to fly to and from fat cat areas.
Feather, to
To place a propeller in an edge-on position to the direction of flight to cut down on the wind resistance (with engine stopped.)
File 13.
Abbreviated form of German word Fliegerabwehrkanone; or pilot warding-off cannon (anti-aircraft fire).
A glamorous pilot (usually used ironically).
Flying Prostitute
Term applied to the twin-engine Martin B-26. This aircraft had a small wing area, and was said to have “No Visible Means Of Support.” A high performance aircraft for its day, and requiring great skill to fly.
French leave
Fruit salad
A number of campaign ribbons worn on the chest.
Fouled (or fucked) up beyond all recognition.

WW2 Slang Sources:

“Glossary of Army Slang,” American Speech, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Oct., 1941).
“G.I. Lingo,” American Speech, Vol. 20. No. 2 (Apr. 1945)
War Slang: American Fighting Words and Phrases Since the Civil War By Paul Dickson
FUBAR: Soldier Slang of WWII By Gordon L. Rottman

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